For many, mealtime on backcountry treks into national parks usually revolves around freeze-dried offerings from the likes of Mountain House and Backpacker's Pantry. Today we'd like to add Cache Lake Quality Camping Foods to the list.
In fact, this Minnesota-based company deserves a high recommendation, if its Beef Stroganoff ($8.52 per two-person packet) entree and Wild Rice Vegetable Salad ($6.25 per two-person packet) are indicative of the rest of the company's dehydrated (not freeze-dried) offerings.
During a recent paddling trip in Yellowstone National Park are crew of four paddlers put those two dishes to the test, and both drew high praise.
"The stroganoff was very good. I liked it," said my oldest son, Jess. "It came out as well as if I cooked it on the stove."
And it was easier to cook on this trip than at home, as the package contained everything you needed: pasta, sour cream, paprika, beef, mushrooms, and various spices and other additives (ie, mono and diglycerides, sodium nitrate, etc.) First you boil two-and-a-half cups of water, then toss in the noodles and beef, simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the noodles are done, then add the sauce mix and stir until blended and thickened.
Nutritionally, a 12-ounce serving carries 331 calories, 6 grams of fat, 20 mgs of cholesterol, and a somewhat high 718 mg of sodium, or roughly a third of your daily intake of salt. There also are 16 grams of protein.
The wild rice side dish took a little more attention to make, as it required soaking the rice and veggies (peas, carrots, and celery) for 6-8 hours. That's easily accomplished if you add the water after breakfast and let it soak through the day.
Check out the company's website for the full range of meal items.